Public Papers

Remarks to Findlay Machine and Tool Employees in Findlay, Ohio


The President. Thank you very, very much. Thank you, Mike. If we had more Congressmen like Mike Oxley and had Mike DeWine in the Senate, everybody wouldn't be yelling at me, ``Clean House!'' everyplace I go.

And thanks to all of you especially for that warm welcome. I salute our Lieutenant Governor, Mike DeWine. Thanks to the Mayor, Mayor Keith Romick. And let me also thank our hosts, Joe Kirk -- [applause] -- you better clap for Joe Kirk. [Laughter] Now, as well as the local celebrities providing the music; band was fantastic, that Findlay High School Band over there. I'm also pleased that two men with whom I served in Congress, who no longer are there -- Del Latta is here and Jack Betts, both outstanding Members of the United States Congress.

And as Mike Oxley said, this is a return engagement. It's great to be here in Findlay, Flag City, U.S.A. I couldn't count every one of the 319 flags that I'm told you fly around here, but let me assure Jim Woodward, every flag I did see looked great to me.

It is a time of great pride for our flag and for the freedoms that it represents. And yes, the cold war is over, and freedom finished first. Now, the defining challenge of the nineties is to win the competition of the new global economy. Our goal is simple; it is straightforward: In the 21st century, America must be not only a military superpower but an economic superpower and particularly an export superpower.

In this election, you'll hear two versions of how to do this. My opponent's answer is to look inward, to pretend we can protect what we already have. And ours is to look forward, to open new markets, prepare our people to compete, restore the social fabric, to save and invest so that we can win for everybody in the United States of America.

You know, already Findlay is rising to the challenge. When I was here 4 years ago, this spot where we're standing was a forest. Today, Tall Timbers is a testament to the transforming power of the international economy, a living, working blueprint for how America can compete. And you are showing the rest of our country, you're showing the rest of America, that in the new global economy America can earn a gold medal. And that's exactly what we're doing right here in Findlay today.

What do the economists say about this new economy? Well, I realize that economists are not always the most admired profession. My own economic advisers tell the story about a business leader who traveled to New York City for a conference. In the Grand Central Station, he was confronted by a bum in tattered clothes. And the bum said, ``Hey, can you give me 10 bucks for a cup of coffee?'' The businessman said, ``Ten bucks! That sounds a little steep.'' And the bum replied, ``Haven't you heard? The dollar is weakening. The M1 money supply has been loosened too quickly, and that could set off an inflationary spiral, driving up the cost of consumer goods.'' The businessman looked at this guy, and he said, ``You're pretty smart. Why aren't you an economist?'' And the bum glared back, ``Buddy, I still have some pride.'' [Laughter]

Someone will probably tell me that the shop next door is the American Economics Association. But nevertheless, I know that economists can be confusing sometimes. But when it comes to the value of foreign trade, they all agree: Foreign trade creates American jobs. Right now, one out of every seven Ohio manufacturing jobs is tied to foreign trade. Whether it's toothpaste from Procter and Gamble or the M - 1A2 tank built in Lima for sale to Saudi Arabia, exports equal paychecks for the people of Ohio.

That's why I want to talk today about a dangerous idea embraced by my opponent, a new tax increase that he's taken to heart. And I'm not talking about the 0 billion tax increase that he wants in new income taxes. I'm not talking about the new payroll tax that he will need to pay for a Government takeover of health care or the training tax he wants to chain to our economy or the carbon tax he wants to put on your cars. I'm talking about a new idea, a tax on foreign companies doing business in the United States.

Some might say, ``What's wrong with that? At least the one tax that American workers won't have to pay.'' Well, you should care, and here's why. You'll feel the effect up and down these loading docks, starting with the seven companies right here in Tall Timbers. Because these companies may be foreign owned, but the jobs are American jobs. I know that our economy is struggling right now, and a lot of people are hurting in this country. The economy's struggling to accelerate right now. And I don't want to see anyone take these jobs away from you, the American worker.

Look at this one, look at FMT, an American-owned company, selling what it makes here in the U.S. But Joe here, Joe Kirk, tells me FMT sells to a number of companies that are American based but foreign owned, sells to those. And if my opponent had his way and your customers get hit by his tax, when they start to cut back, when they cancel orders, you'll get hurt. We need to do better by the American worker. We need a policy that creates jobs, not a tax machine that spits out pink slips.

Now, here's what I have to offer: a coherent plan, one that sees that in today's world foreign policy, domestic policy, and economic policy are three sides of a single issue; a strategy that reaches out to the world in a way that makes a difference right here in Findlay, in your neighborhoods and in your lives. We must build on the fundamentals of lower tax rates, limits on Government spending, less redtape and regulation, and more trade, more competition to generate the growth that means more opportunity and thus more jobs.

It begins with an aggressive strategy to open new markets, so that ``Made in America'' is understood in any language from Lima, Ohio, to Lima, Peru, and beyond. Some will say that the American worker isn't up to it. And I say: Look, give our workers a level playing field, and they will outperform any worker in the world, anyplace, anywhere, anytime.

I learned this myself. Thank God I spent some time in the private sector. Half my adult life was in the private sector, and half in public service. But I learned this part in a very personal way 35 years ago when I started and headed a small drilling company, service company, a tiny company. But we sold our services in Japan, in Brunei, in the South Pacific, sold them over in the Middle East, sold them in Venezuela and Trinidad. And I learned something from all that. I learned you don't have to be a big company to export. I learned that our crews, our workers could compete, hold their own with workers, do better than workers anywhere in the rest of the world. And I learned that when we export, we really help the American economy. That is firsthand experience that a young businessman learned, and as President I feel even more strongly about it. We cannot go to protection and higher taxes. We must go to more exports and more competition.

I also believe in a very simple philosophy: The Government is too big, and it spends too much of your money. So far, this gridlocked Congress has resisted many of my attempts to cut the budget deficit. So last week I unveiled at Houston there a new idea: Why not give you, the taxpayer, the right to earmark up to 10 percent of your tax return and have it go for one purpose alone, to reduce the budget deficit? Let's get the deficit down and lift the burden of debt from the children's shoulders around here. Lift that burden of debt by getting the deficit down.

Once we have runaway spending under control, we need to cut taxes across the board to give businesses incentives to grow and create new jobs for America. I've been accused of being one of those who thinks every day is the Fourth of July. Well, that's a lot better than my opponent. He thinks every day is April 15th. That's going to be the big issue in this campaign. That's going to be the big issue. It's time to take the bull's-eye off the back of the American taxpayer.

I have a small concern about small business, a special concern about that. They create two-thirds of the new jobs in our economy, small businesses. And I have a plan to give small businesses relief from taxation, regulation, and litigation.

You may have read the story, and this is true, about the fellow up in New York who threw himself in front of a subway train and then sued for damages, and he was awarded 0,000. Doctors are afraid to practice medicine; some moms and dads won't coach Little League. And my opponent and the trial lawyers of America eye each other with ``goo-goo eyes'' like Boris and Natasha in those old Bullwinkle cartoons. And I want to stand up to the trial bar and reform our legal system. As a nation, here it is, we ought to sue each other less, and we ought to care for each other more. And we've got to do something about these lawsuits.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Time and again, I have sent proposals up to that gridlocked Congress to do something to put some caps on these lawsuits. And time and again, the gridlocked Congress has said no because they are in the pocket of the trial lawyers association. Give me new Members of Congress, and let us change that for the American people.

I have other priorities, and they're your priorities: To control health care costs, we've got to do something about health care in this country, but control the costs without a backdoor Government takeover. We need more job training for workers caught in the transition of our economy. And I have a plan, a good one, to create new schools for a new century -- we call it America 2000 -- and with new ideas like using competition to make schools more accountable to you, the taxpayers and the parents. Give the parents a choice as to whether to send this kid to private, public, or religious school.

If you agree with these ideas, then I ask you a favor. Help me make this reform agenda a reality. Come November 3d, send me a Congress I can work with, and give the existing Democratic leadership a pink slip to get on home and go about their business.

Congress today has become a gridlocked Congress, the only institution that has not changed in 38 years. Presidents come and go; Senators come and go. The Senate has changed control. The House of Representatives has not changed control in 38 years, and they spend their time debating, incredibly, important issues like Vanna White and the ``Wheel of Fortune'' -- [laughter] -- while neglecting the business of the Nation.

Now, next year, there are going to be an estimated 150 new Members of Congress, at least, and they're going to come to Washington. We then have a real opportunity to break the gridlock. As you look at the various candidates, ask them the tough questions: Are you for free and fair trade? Are you against the kind of business tax that will cost American jobs? Do you want to get the deficit down and the economy moving? And send me a Congress that will do what's right for America. I want to see the line-item veto. I want a balanced budget amendment for this Constitution.

Don't you believe for one minute what the opponents say when they say we are a nation in decline, we are a nation not respected around the world. I've been to many places around the world, and if one thing is clear, it is we are the undisputed, respected leader not just of the free world but of other countries that are striving for the freedom and democracy we sometimes take for granted.

Since this is Flag City, let me close with a flag story. During the Gulf war, I received a letter from the Mayor of Stantonsburg, North Carolina. He told me about watching two little girls about 10 years old walking across the school yard. One day, they went across. He was watching, and they were pulling their mom's laundry on a wagon. As the girls passed the pole in front of the town hall, they looked up and saw the United States flag flapping in the wind. Unaware that anyone was watching, these two little girls stopped, placed their hands over their hearts, and pledged allegiance to the flag. One little girl said simply, ``It's important to do this, you know, because of the war and all.''

Well, this election, like all elections, is about that little girl, and all the kids in Findlay, in Lima, and all the kids in America. If we do what is right today, we can take advantage of the opportunity of our global victory. We can build a land where they will be safe and strong and secure, where they can climb the flagpole of opportunity and put their hands over their hearts with pride, knowing that in their land the sun is always just peeking out over the horizon.

I'm delighted to have been back in Findlay. Thank you once again for this warm welcome, and may God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 5:15 p.m. at Findlay Machine and Tool, Inc., in Tall Timbers Industrial Park. In his remarks, he referred to Joe Kirk, company president, and Jim Woodward, chairman, Adopt a Flag Committee in Findlay, OH.